Pass: The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
I have been a fan of Robyn Schneider for a while, but this is the first book of hers that I read. Back when I was doing all of my nail polish stuff, back in 2012-13, I came across her youtube channel accidentally when she did a review of some makeup she’d purchased. She’s energetic, clever, and loves her puns, and I’ve been following her ever since.
The Beginning of Everything was originally called Severed Heads and Broken Hearts, which should give you some idea of her sense of humor. While there are parts of the book that are irreverent, it was a pretty intense ride from beginning to end. I read it three days, and I can’t remember the last time I went through a book that quickly. The closes was Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell earlier this year (4 days). For fans of YA, Fangirl and The Beginning of Everything have a very similar feel; the best way that I can describe it is that TBoE is like a more intense version of Fangirl, but with a male protagonist.
Genre: Young Adult
Fail: The Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner
I confess, I got about halfway through this book and then I stopped reading. I don’t finish books that I don’t enjoy.
The frustrating thing is that I should have enjoyed it. This is a YA/middle grade title. It’s dark, but has some humor in it. The setting is something like an alternate form of Venice, with some Germanic influences (it’s very similar to The Water Mirror). The main characters are a group of outcasts and kids who are fighting against The Man (or in this case, the Blessed Guardians, who keep everyone in the city living in fear). It’s remarkably psychological for something aimed at 10-12 year olds.
But it just couldn’t hold me. I listened to the audio version, and the narrator did some really great voices for all of the characters, every one of them unique.
But somehow, I just wasn’t drawn in.
Genre: Middle Grade
Promise: The Custard Protocol Series by Gail Carriger
I honestly don’t think it’s possible for Ms. Carriger to write a bad book.
Prudence, the first book in her new series, ties in with both of her previous series (The Parasol Protectorate and the Finishing School series), but can also be read on it’s own. Rue, our intrepid heroine, is delightfully funny, enjoys irritating those around her, and never says no to an adventure, provided she will be home in time for tea. Nearly every page brings a smile, and those that don’t force you on to the next, hungry for more.
Unlike The Parasol Protectorate and Finishing School, The Custard Protocol is not YA. Fans of her earlier work should not be put off, however, since it simply takes the same tone as the other books but with a more adult attitude. It’s a joy to read from start to finish.